The Natie Kirsh Foundation (NKF), a non-governmental organisation, has begun the cash distribution of E45 million (US$2.5 million) to feed 69,000 people in 11,000 households in the Shiselweni and Manzini regions in Swaziland (eSwatini). It was observed that tens of thousands of people under Covid-19 lockdown in the kingdom were unable to feed their families, hence the move from NKF to give them money to buy food. The organisation stated that money will be sent to households in other regions in the kingdom in coming weeks.

The money was transferred electronically to the bank accounts of households. Each household got E700 to spend on food items of their choice. This money distribution is separate from the government scheme that was announced on 22 April where Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini promised that more than 300,000 people would get food aid within two weeks of the lockdown.

Addressing the media, Dlamini stated, ‘We are cognisant of the reality that many people who were not chronically food insecure before [Covid-19] now need food assistance. These include workers who have been laid off, street vendors, hawkers, and others’.

However, the Swazi government’s scheme to feed the people has stalled. The feeding scheme stalled after the House of Assembly refused to back a plan from the Deputy Prime Minister, Themba Masuku, to send destitute people money rather than food. It was then revealed that the government had no plans to feed people living in towns and cities. Subsequently, there was chaos across the kingdom as people who tried to register for the food aid were turned away.

It was observed that some people were being charged E50 to have their names put on the registration list. In normal times, about seven in ten of the population live on incomes less than the equivalent of $2 (E37) a day.

Source: Swazi Media

Photo source: Olechkaok

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